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Friday, 28 August 2015

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CONTROVERSIAL: Cocklers at work on Morecambe Bay

FIVE suspected illegal immigrants were arrested after a dawn raid on an Ulverston pub.

Residents at the Morecambe Tavern had a rude awakening when immigration officials and police swooped on the premises just after 5am yesterday.

The five men, all Chinese nationals, were taken to Barrow Police Station where they were questioned by Immigration Service officers.

Those arrested at the Morecambe Road pub were aged 18, 33, two were 37 and one 39.

A force spokesman said: “We can confirm that five men were arrested.

“Police were there but only to assist.”

Ono Okeregha, area manager for the Home Office, said they had been acting on information gathered by officers working in the area.

At the end of last month five Chinese nationals were arrested at the Roa Island Hotel, near Barrow, on suspicious of being in the country illegally.

The four men and one woman were taken in for questioning after another early-morning raid.

They were believed to have been part of cockle-picking gangs working out on Morecambe Bay.

Immigration officers have been working in the Furness and South Cumbria area for some time.

It is understood the latest raid was launched after information was gathered from a number of sources.

If found guilty of working in England illegally, the five Chinese face deportation, but they may not go back to China.

In some previous cases those who proved they have travelled from an address in Europe were returned there.

Using interpreters, immigration officers also try to determine how the five suspects arrived in England and if their journey from China was organised or they made their own way here.

Law enforcement agencies are reluctant to confirm so-called snakehead gangsters from China are behind the importation of illegal Asian immigrants, but have said immigrants’ journey to the UK is often organised for a price.

Recent legislation gives the agencies the power to prosecute people for trafficking in humans and is aimed at halting criminal gangs from transporting illegal immigrants.



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